- Constitutional Morality vs Public Morality
- Explained: How Cars can run on Hydrogen
CONSTITUTIONAL MORALITY VS PUBLIC MORALITY
FOCUS: MAINS: GS PAPER 2, PAPER 1 and Essay
Why in news?
Last week Hyderabad Police in an encounter killed the four accused in the rape and murder of the young veterinarian in Hyderabad — an incident, which happened on Wednesday, triggering an angry response across the country with demands for speedy justice. On the same day the police found the dead body of a victim in Asifabad near Hyderabad in similar condition.
These incidents tell us that the sexual assault is pervasive and the response must be systemic, not episodic.
Why constitutional morality should prevail?
Public responses that equate judicial outcomes and “justice” to immediate and quick retribution are not universal, nor just. Is retributive justice the way to go in a democratic country that prides itself in its unprecedented historical legacy of resisting violence in fundamentally non-retributive ways?
We should avoid talking in the heat of the moment and provide moral reassurance and comfort to families, while keeping sight of the rule of law and constitutional tenets.
The ends of justice are not served by wanton killing and retributive blood lust. The course of justice cannot be determined by the grief and grieving of victims’ families.
Justice lies in supporting the family in their moment of grief and pain and insisting on due process that brings suspects and accused to trial through a robust, stringent and competent criminal investigation
Art 21: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law – police being an institution under constitution, needs to respect the ideals inscribed in it.
Supreme Court Decision:
By resurrecting Justice H.R. Khanna’s dissent in Puttaswamy in 2017, SC has prescribed the interpretation of Article 21 as: It is non-negotiable, non-derogable, and is not suspended even during conditions of Emergency.
Role of Police
We are not living under declaration of Emergency so the duty of care is more onerous on the police. Any argument on the actions being carried out in ‘purported discharge of official duties’ especially involving the death of unarmed persons in custody cannot stand the narrowest test of Article 21. There is no law in force in India that authorizes the police to kill. The plea of self-defense cannot be used to rationalize a targeted, pre-meditated killing of suspects in custody.
Using Public angst to deliberate and formulate better laws
After December 2012 incident, the law on rape was amended substantially based on the recommendations and deliberations of the Justice J.S. Verma Committee. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, or Nirbhaya Act, 2013, as it is christened, is testimony to the possibility of translating public angst into just law.
The pathways of justice are not linear nor without obstacles. But we have, as a people, chosen the route of democracy and the Constitution, so we really have no option but to school ourselves in constitutional morality. For as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar cautioned in anticipation, constitutional morality must replace public morality. It is not easy, because it is not a natural sentiment. But it is non-negotiable.
Explained: How cars can run on hydrogen
Why in news?
Ahead of next July’s Tokyo Olympics, Japan is gearing up to put on its roads thousands of vehicles based on a hydrogen cell technology, also known as ‘fuel cells’.
How it works?
Fuel used: Hydrogen + Oxidant
Process: Produced electricity by an electrochemical process
Fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate an electric current, water being the only byproduct. It converts chemical energy into electrical energy.
So is an FCEV a conventional vehicle or an electric vehicle (EV)?
While the fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical process, unlike a battery-electricity vehicle, it does not store energy and, instead, relies on a constant supply of fuel and oxygen — in the same way that an internal combustion engine relies on a constant supply of petrol or diesel, and oxygen. In that sense, it may be seen as being similar to a conventional internal combustion engine.
Difference is :
But unlike the combustion engine cars, there are no moving parts in the fuel cell, so they are more efficient and reliable by comparison. Also, there is no combustion onboard, in the conventional sense.
Electric Vehicles (Evs) classification:
- Battery electric vehicle or BEVs such as the Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S, which have no internal combustion engine or fuel tank, and run on a fully electric drive-train powered by rechargeable batteries.
- Conventional hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs such as the Toyota Camry sold in the country combine a conventional internal combustion engine system with an electric propulsion system, resulting in a hybrid vehicle drive-train that substantially reduces fuel use. The on-board battery in a conventional hybrid is charged when the IC engine is powering the drive-train.
- Plug-in hybrid vehicles or PHEVs, such as the Chevrolet Volt, too have a hybrid drivetrain that uses both an internal combustion engine and electric power for motive power, backed by rechargeable batteries that can be plugged into a power source.
FCEVs are widely considered to be the next frontier in EV technology. FCEVs such as Toyota’s Mirai and Honda’s Clarity use hydrogen to power an onboard electric motor. Since they are powered entirely by electricity, FCEVs are considered EVs — but unlike BEVs, their range and refuelling processes are comparable to conventional cars and trucks.
Advantages and disadvantages of fuel cells
- Fuel cells produce much smaller quantities of greenhouse gases and none of the air pollutants that cause health problems.
- Also, if pure hydrogen is used, fuel cells emit only heat and water as a byproduct. Such cells are also far more energy-efficient than traditional combustion technologies.
- Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles do not need to be plugged in, and most models exceed 300 km of range on a full tank. They are filled up with a nozzle, just like in a petrol or diesel station.
Disadvantages/challenges of Fuel Cells operated Vehicles
- While FCEVs do not generate gases that contribute to global warming, the process of making hydrogen needs energy — often from fossil fuel sources.
- Also, there are questions of safety — hydrogen is more explosive than petrol.
- Opponents of the technology cite the case of the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg airship in 1937.
- The other major hurdle is that the vehicles are expensive, and fuel dispensing pumps are scarce.
Progress in India
- In India, so far, the definition of EV only covers BEVs; the government has lowered taxes to 12%.
- At 43%, hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen FCEVs attract the same tax as IC vehicles.
- The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been supporting various such projects in academic institutions, research and development organisations and industry for development.
- The Ministry of Science and Technology has supported two networked centres on hydrogen storage led by IIT Bombay and Nonferrous Materials Technology Development Centre, Hyderabad.